Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing (pictured) has responded to the latest HMRC export statistics for Q1-Q4 2020 by outlining the ongoing challenges facing Scotland’s food and drink sector. (© Scottish Government)
“These statistics confirm the extent to which Scotland’s food and drink exports are being harmed by Covid-19, in addition to their vulnerability to the further shock of Brexit, and being removed from one of the largest and our most important regional market.
“Food and drink exports were down £1.2 billion in 2020, driven by the falls in Scotch whisky exports.
“The decrease in exports is particularly evident in the second quarter, when much of our export markets were in the midst of coronavirus restrictions.
“The challenges are continuing in 2021, and the damage caused by Brexit threatens to be profound and long-lasting, with last week’s HMRC UK trade figures for January demonstrating the unfolding costs of being taken out of the EU, and the catastrophic impact of the UK’s deal on Scotland’s food and drink businesses and rural communities.”